Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Mac Pro’

After a Hard Decade for the Mac Pro ➝

Basic Apple Guy:

Apple in 2022 seems of the mentality to give “pros” pro things, even at the cost of more utilitarian design. And in recent years, Apple has nearly completed the transition to Apple Silicon and has shown a dedication to designing for rather than against thermal limits – both the MacBook Pro & Mac Studio had their thermal capabilities prominently highlighted during their announcements. These two changes address the sins of its predecessors, so unless the next Mac Pro becomes an existential threat by ripping a hole in spacetime, it’ll be a much safer purchasing decision than the Pros that preceded it.

Setting aside my frustrations regarding repairability and the ever list of software annoyances, Apple has been absolutely hitting it out of the park with Mac hardware over the past few years.

➝ Source: basicappleguy.com

Apple Still Likely to Introduce New Macs With Intel Processors ➝

This isn’t surprising to me. I don’t know what an Apple Silicon-based Mac Pro would look like, but I expect it to be a radical departure from the current Mac Pro. I don’t think that will be ready for quite some time, though. And with Apple’s recent attempts to regain favor with the pro community, I don’t think they wants to leave all of those users hanging while they work on a suitable Apple Silicon-based replacement.

➝ Source: macrumors.com

Apple Plans Redesigned iMac, New Mac Pro, Smaller Mac Pro, Cheaper Monitor ➝

Mark Gurman, on the smaller Mac Pro:

The second version, however, will use Apple’s own processors and be less than half the size of the current Mac Pro. The design will feature a mostly aluminum exterior and could invoke nostalgia for the Power Mac G4 Cube, a short-lived smaller version of the Power Mac, an earlier iteration of the Mac Pro.

It’s just a rumor. And there isn’t much to go on aside from it being smaller than the current Mac Pro. But if it’s also lower cost — in the realm of the entry-level 2010-era Mac Pro — I’m going to be very interested.

➝ Source: bloomberg.com

No Mac Pro for You ➝

Matt Birchler, referencing my assertion that ten years ago he would have purchased a Mac Pro instead of a PC:

I think he’s absolutely right. I would have bit the bullet and paid a bit more to get a nicer enclosure and the software I much prefer. 15 years ago when I went to college, I kind of assumed I would eventually get a Mac Pro because it wasn’t that much more expensive than the $2,500 laptop I just bought.

I know the Mac Pro is a low volume product, even at the lower prices of ten years ago. But I think Apple would be wise to rethink the current state of their lineup — I’m sure there are a lot of enthusiasts that are considering PCs again. And those are the same sorts of people that influence the buying decisions of their friends and family.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Not Selling the Computer I Want ➝

Matt Birchler:

This all brought me to an interesting realization: Apple doesn’t make a Mac for me anymore.

Or maybe I’ve just changed what I want from a desktop computer. Either way, none of the options Apple currently sells would make me happy, which is how we get to today.

He ended up purchasing a PC from Dell. And this is someone that has been using Macs for decades. If that doesn’t tell you how dire the situation is, I don’t know what will.

I’ve written previously about my frustration with Apple’s Mac Pro pricing and I think that’s the key to all of this. The Mac Pro was the safety valve — the best option when no other Mac met your needs. Because of its internal expansion and high power ceiling, it was versatile enough for just about any task. The current Mac Pro has that in spades, but what it doesn’t have is a relatively affordable starting price point. Without that, folks like Matt and myself have to consider whether macOS is actually worth buying a machine that doesn’t offer the features or form factor we need.

Ten years ago, I suspect Matt would have ended up with a Mac Pro. Perhaps begrudgingly since it was a bit over his budget, but at least he would have had an option that was attainable. The current Mac Pro is just too darn expensive for a large swath of Mac users that previously would have considered it as the best option for them.

Unlike Matt, I’m not going to end up with a PC — my current plan is to buy a new Mac Mini. But it’s pretty sad that Mac enthusiasts are even having this conversation.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

The Mac Pro Is Overpriced

I’ve seen a bit of chatter in the Apple scene claiming that the Mac Pro isn’t overpriced. I won’t point out anyone specifically, though, as it’s likely these articles are designed as clickbait and I’d prefer not to give them what they’re aiming for. But, those people’s opinions are misguided. The Mac Pro is overpriced. Maybe it isn’t overpriced when compared to similar PC workstations, but Mac users don’t typically decide between Apple’s offerings and those from PC manufacturers. Mac users like running macOS and Apple is the only game in town if that’s one of your requirements in a new computer.

But the Mac Pro is overpriced from a historical perspective — the starting price point is just so much higher than previous iterations of the machine. The most recent version, the trash can Mac Pro started at $3,000 — half the price of the new model. Even adjusted for inflation, that would be about $3,300 today.

Going back a little bit further, to the cheese grater Mac Pro, that machine’s standard model was $2,500. But you could even configure it with a lesser CPU option and purchase it for only $2,300. That’s just under $2,600 when adjusted for inflation.

I don’t care about the Mac Pro’s pricing on the high-end either. It’s a good thing that buyers can configure a Mac with premium components. I don’t know who needs a 28-core computer with 1.5 TB of RAM, but if Apple didn’t offer it, those people would have to go elsewhere.

The issue with pricing is on the low end — the starting price point is too high for an entire swath of users that used to use older iterations of the Mac Pro as their primary machine and many of those people would use one today if a lower-cost option was available.

When I bought my first Mac in 2006, many of the “influencers” in the Apple scene owned Mac Pros. And as a young adult who just graduated high school, I was always envious of them. The Mac Pro had so much to offer — the ability to upgrade and expand its capabilities with aftermarket components, it was more powerful than any other computers in Apple’s lineup, and all inside of a nifty looking, cool and quiet chassis.

I believe there is still a market for such a machine. There are plenty of hobbyists and independent pros that would love to use a computer that offered these attributes, but their budget might not allow for the current Mac Pro.

Could they use another computer in Apple’s lineup? Yes, they could. But the iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air all offer something a bit different in terms of form factor and compromises — there isn’t anything that fills the role of the Mac Pro quite like the Mac Pro.

Speaking personally, I’m in the market to replace the Mac Mini that we’ve been using as our home server. It’s a 2011 model and doesn’t support the last two versions of macOS, so it’s about time to upgrade. It won’t be long before some of the software I rely on won’t receive updates for the Mac Mini’s OS. Currently, the machine runs Plex, regularly rips and converts DVDs/Blu-rays, acts as our Time Machine server, and stores a backup of our photo library.

Since I purchased the Mac Mini, the rest of our computing setup has changed substantially. My wife and I use iPads and iPhones as our primary devices and I have a work-issued laptop. Neither one of us have a good reason to justify owning personal Macs anymore. We would be much better served with a machine that can perform the duties of our home server while also acting as a family computer for those rare times when we need to use a specific piece of software or perform a task that’s difficult or impossible on iOS — albeit a rare occurrence these days.

If it was 2012, the Mac Pro would be the perfect computer for the job. There would be no question about it. I could buy the base model at a relatively affordable price with the idea of upgrading it in a year or two to increase its lifespan and overall performance. I could load it up with a bunch of internal hard drives to store our photos, media, and the Time Machine backups from my work laptop — no messy external drives necessary. And it could handle just about any task we threw at it while performing all of its other duties. I wouldn’t even need an additional display because I could simply connect the one I already use for work whenever I needed to use the Mac Pro directly.

But because of the current Mac Pro’s pricing, I’m left having to make compromises. I either buy a Mac Mini and deal with the fan noise coming from the corner of my office and the messy rats nest of cables from the external drives or I get an iMac. And that would come with its own set of compromises — the iMac comes with a built-in display that I don’t need, restricting where I can place the computer, I’d still have to deal with external drives, and I wouldn’t have the option of a 2TB internal SSD because Apple doesn’t offer it in the iMac.

Neither of those options are particularly cost effective, mind you. The Mac Mini configured in the way I’d want it — with an upgraded CPU and 2TB SSD — would set me back about $2,100. And a similarly configured iMac would cost about $2,200. A theoretical $2,500–3,000 Mac Pro would give me even more power than the Mini or iMac, with plenty of room to grow through upgrades in the future.

There’s a huge hole in Apple’s desktop offerings between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. And I think it would be in their best interest to fill that void with a computer that featured iMac-like performance in a Mac Pro-like package. The iMac might be a good option for some, but it isn’t right for everyone. And I’m sure there are plenty of podcasters, developers, video producers, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and more that would love the option of a lower-cost Mac Pro like this.

In the end, I’ll probably end up with a Mac Mini, but I’m not happy about it. It might be the best machine for me when considering the alternatives, but it’s not the best machine for me.

What Does the iMac Pro Tell Us About the All New Mac Pro to Follow? ➝

Ben Lovejoy, on the upcoming Mac Pro:

So yes, Apple has promised that it will be the best machine in the line-up, meaning that by definition it has to have a higher spec than the iMac Pro. But perhaps not massively so. What you’ll really be buying with the Mac Pro is two things.

First, configuration options. Four USB-C ports is good, but as the standard takes off, there will be pros who’ll want more – and you’ll be able to add them. Up to 4TB fast SSD is very nice, but again, AV pros will want more, and they’ll be able to add it without having to hang them off the outside of the machine. And so forth. Unlike the iMac, you won’t be buying a sealed unit.

Second, longevity. The iMac Pro will be a stonking spec when it launches, but of course technology never stands still. A blindingly-fast machine today will look distinctly pedestrian a few years down the line. With a modular format, you should be able to simply slot in new components as they become available – including, I’m sure, CPU and GPU.

The iMac Pro Is Not the New Mac Pro ➝

From Apple’s press release for the iMac Pro:

In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display.

I would normally assume that everyone had seen this already, but my busy week has reminded me that not everyone follows this stuff so closely.

But it’s also worth mentioning that, in an alternate timeline where Apple didn’t have their change of heart, which resulted in the roundtable meeting in April, this might have been Apple’s replacement for the Mac Pro.